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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Embossed Baby Bibs - just added to the website

Before dawn on a snowy morning, I have just added the interesting embossed baby bibs to the website. With these bibs, the negative space is sewn down with embroidery - allowing the positive space to be the letters of baby's name on the bib. I can accommodate up to 8 letters using this technique.

It is a subtle, but very effective way to make a personalized bib very special.


Embossed Bibs

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Organic for Baby

Up at 3 AM - when I do my best thinking - to begin to add organic treasures to the website. I have inside information from young mothers and they want the natural of soft organic, so organic it is.

We will have organic loves, swaddle blankets, buntings, and more. These are from Under the Nile - known for their quality organic materials. We add the personalization of course!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Initial Impressions in The Knot

A bride bought a beautiful wedding gown label from me on etsy and then worried that perhaps she used the wrong initials -- going to The Knot to ask for advice. I loved that she showed the label I made on The Knot, but she could have asked me on the question of the initials.

Traditionally, the bride uses her maiden name initials because when she puts on her wedding gown, she is not married yet.

Here is the discussion and a photo of the beautiful wedding gown label

Initial Impressions in The Knot

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Autograph Pillowcase for a Slumber Birthday Party

This is a fun way to have a keepsake from a slumber birthday party. The pillowcase itself is embroidered to your specifications to mark the special day and then the guests use a fabric pen to add their comments and well wishes. What a fun way for kids to have this long after the guests have gone home.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Our Embossed Approach to Baby Bibs

This fun composite photo showcases a new approach to terry velour baby bibs. Because the terry velour provides a rich texture, we are able to emboss them. This involves pushing down the negative space with stitches, leaving the name as the surface of the terry velour. We can do this with any name - up to 8 letters.





I think baby Eric is enjoying his new bib

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jingle - Jingle - The website is growing

It is the time of year for the website to grow. These make arriving at holiday parties an event in itself. They give new meaning to the term "arrive with bells" - and it gets better - I personalize them.
Jingle Wine Gift Tote

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Collapsible Dog Water Bowl - New on the Site Today

What an awesome item for dog owners on the move - camping, hiking, biking, picnics - This dog bowl collapses for ease of transport - and we personalize it too
Collapsible Dog Bowl, Personalized!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wedding Gown Labels are Now Easier to Find on the Website

The wedding gown labels were buried just a little too deep on website. They are now easier to find -- with their own category and page.

Wedding Labels on the Website

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Many Uses for the Wedding Labels

Quite a few years ago we decided that custom wedding labels would be an inexpensive way to add an oh so personal touch to just about any wedding. We started with the simple satin label with the bride's initials and the date of the wedding.




That label evolved into one that could include both the bride's and groom's name.




Then we decided to add grosgrain ribbon labels for the less formal bride, the bride who had a less structured dress and wanted something streamlined or perhaps wanted a label for her going away outfit.




Then, we realized that the groom was being left out and that was a bad thing. We do tend to forget that the groom should have equal billing! So we made labels for his tuxedo, suit or tie.




Then, we got more ideas. We realized that these labels were not just for brides and grooms and maybe even not just for people in the strict sense of the term.

Real Simple Weddings got wind of all the goings on and showed an example and there was mention in Brides Magazine and Martha Stewart's blog too. There is definitely a buzz about these things.

My next creations were dual color labels

and labels with lace that I create with the embroidery machine.

Brides who don't go overboard with lace on their gown have reported that they love the counterpoint of a secret stash of a little bit of lace inside the dress.

The Tiffany color seemed to be very popular so a dual color label using Tiffany seemed logical.

Brides were enjoying using them in clutch purses they gave their bridesmaids or sewn into pashmina wraps for the wedding guests (the subject of the Martha Stewart blog post) for an outdoor wedding. Mothers of the bride and groom wanted them. And fathers of the bride and groom too. Grooms put them in the ties for their groomsmen.

Brides who create or perpetuate a tradition by wearing their mother's dress have had labels created for both to showcase that lovely decision.



The labels have been known to appear in the bridal bouquet wrap and used to adorn the tablecloth on the gift table. One bride even put a smaller version of the label in each bridal shoe.

A few things are for sure - they are pretty, they are personalized, they are inexpensive and they have as many uses as the imagination can muster.

Friday, August 5, 2011

New Item - Solid Color Linen Kitchen/Bath/Powder Room Towels

I found these to enrich the color deprived - great towels in great colors!

New Item - Waterproof Baby Playmat

Just added to the website - A fleece playmat with waterproof nylon backing. This blanket is perfect for the beach or for damp grass. It is also useful for protecting the furniture from the fur and claws of pets. And it is available in attractive colors.Infant Waterproof Playmat

Monday, July 18, 2011

300th Sale on Etsy

I just got my 300th sale on etsy.com. It was an order for the wedding labels that got featured in Real Simple Weddings - see the last post with the photo of the man's suit.

Etsy is great!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Something Blue Treasury List on Etsy

Our most popular wedding gown label has been chosen for a "something blue" treasury list on etsy. These are so popular and several years ago they were noticed by Brides Magazine too. Initial Impressions in Etsy Treasury on "Something Blue"

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Neat Desk - Paperwork Processor - thank goodness!

I am excited to have received and set up my trial of the Neat Desk - a special scanner with intelligent software to process receipts. From what I can tell so far, this gadget is going to save me time and allow me to do what I love - focus on being creative. I am thrilled to delegate the drudgery to a machine.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Etsy

Just got my 200th positive feedback on etsy - a consortium of shops selling unique creations made by artisans.

Initial Impressions on Etsy

Friday, May 20, 2011

Multi Purpose Insulated Bag - Personalized of Course

I originally made this insulated bag to carry a lunch to work stylishly. My daughter now tells me that they are the perfect size to carry baby Eric's bottles and keep them safely cold until needed. What a pretty way to stay portable!

Wedding Gown Labels

These are the latest in our series of wedding gown labels. These labels are sewn into the inside bodice of the gown, often near the manufacturer label. They come in a variety of shapes and styles. This new set has a sort of frame feel. The triple bean stitch detailing adds to the frame look. They are made with white, ivory or bridal blue satin with the opposite color used for the stitching. We use a monogram in any number of pretty lettering styles and add the wedding date of course.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Mother/Grandmother Day Gift

These images of children aprons are the "go for" gift for Mother's Day. They do generate the oohs and ahs. If you are fortunate, there will be another face to add to the apron by this time next year.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

First Mother's Day

While browsing etsy one day, I found this bicycle fabric which just happened to match the fun bicycle aprons I have on the website. This find turned into a first mother's day gift for my daughter and her new baby Eric. She and her husband are already bicycle people and Eric is destined in that direction too.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Flickr Photo Sharing Location - Well Over 1000 Photos

For a treasure load of photos of completed projects over the years, please visit Initial Impressions Photos on Flickr

When Was The Last Time You Received Something Personalized?

When a friend or loved one buys a personalized item for you, it shows that you have a special place in their heart. They easily could have gone to the local mall and bought a standard item like a t-shirt, mug, or gift certificate. After all, it's the thought that counts, right?

These days, so many people take the easy way out and gravitate toward mass-produced, well advertised items that are neutral and safe. Granted, sometimes that's necessary - but consider this: How many dads ever said they wanted a tie on Father's Day? Probably not a single one. Now consider that Father's Day is likely the biggest time of year for tie sales in the history of retail shopping. Getting dad a tie says "I remembered there was a holiday today." Getting dad a personalized gift says "I took the time to get something distinctive and interesting that I think you will actually enjoy."

Would fashion-conscious individuals travel to London, Paris and Milan just to shop at Wal-mart? Surely not. Given the choice, would they play it safe and buy items that would allow them to simply blend in with the crowd, or would they want to assert their individuality and show the world how they express themselves through their style choices? People view style choices as an extension of their personality. Whether it's a throw pillow for a couch, an antique picture frame, or a fancy pair of shoes, this is how we represent ourselves. When we give gifts, it's an opportunity to share that part of ourselves with others. Imagine how boring life would be if we didn't have that option!

Consider what it would be like to drive down a residential street in mid-December, and seeing the same string of blue icicle lights on every house. No one would drive out of his or her way to see those lights because there is nothing special to see. However, if even one of those houses had something distinctive, say a string of multi-colored lights around all of the trees in the yard and reindeer on the roof, people might be compelled to take a detour from their normal route home from work to take a look. Why? Because it's a personal touch. The people who live in that house took the time to do something out of the ordinary for others to enjoy. This is what your friends and loved ones have done when they've bought personalized items for you.

Regardless of what holidays you celebrate or how old you'll be at your next birthday, I encourage you to look forward to your next personalized gift. Rejoice in the fact that the gift-giver chose to order something special because he or she was thinking of you instead of thinking about the discount on a gift basket available to customers who use their CVS cards.

And remember, when it's time to reciprocate, think of the good feeling you'll have knowing that you chose to go the extra mile... even if it does involve going down a street full of houses with blue icicle lights!

This article was written by Jennifer Larkin, an expert
in the Mental Health category at www.yoexpert.com

Today's Projects

Up for production today are seven of these terry velour ladies shower wraps to be used as bridesmaid gifts at an upcoming wedding. What can be fun about these is the process of wedding day preparation where the photographer catches all the ladies in their matching shower wraps and then in their bridemaid dresses. Glasses of champagne and some elegant snacks will make the pre-wedding festivities, well, festive!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Baby Gift Appreciation

This new baby gift - a blanket with all the details - was appreciated by the mom!

Baby Eric's Easter Basket

My daughter asked me to embroider the green seersucker fabric she was using as the liner for baby Eric's Easter basket. We added a chocolate bunny too.

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley is a very traditional wedding flower. It is often used as the groom's boutenaire and often finds its way into the bouquet too. It is known for an exquisite fragrance.

Lily of the Valley is a shade-loving perennial that grows by spreading rhizomes (roots) under the ground. The flower makes its first appearance in spring and creates six little stamens. By September, the flower is producing sweet berries in place of the petals that are about 5-7mm in diameter. The plant grows to about 8 inches in height. The flowers are normally white, although occasionally you can find some with a pink hue to them. The Lily of the Valley originated in Europe but today are distributed widely throughout North America and Asia. This plant enjoys cooler weather and will grow best in areas of shade, especially in warmer climates.



The bell-shaped flowers give off a large scent that attracts not only people, but also bees who like to collect the pollen that the flower produces. Even though this flower is quite beautiful, all parts of this flower are quite toxic. The Lily of the Valley also has some medicinal qualities to it. For many years, the leaves and petals have been used in medicine because they contain cardiac glycosides, which is used in the treatment of heart failure.

Here we have it as a sweet monogram on a bride's hankie.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Groom Label as Seen in Real Simple Weddings

It has been a couple of years since the grosgrain groom labels appeared in Real Simple Weddings magazine and even today I received an inquiry about them. They are simple grosgrain ribbon with an unusual and modern way of creating a monogram from the bride and groom initials. The come in black, navy, and charcoal gray. Similar labels are available for the bride's gown or to tuck into the bouquet.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Fabulous Frocks of Charleston, SC

I know of a bridal shop in Charleston, SC Fabulous Frocks where consignment of couture gowns is a way to get a heavenly designer couture gown in pristine condition at a fraction of the price. My wedding gown labels complete each one of these gorgeous gowns. You can follow her blog here to see trends, wedding stories and more.

Fabulous Frocks Blog

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Successful Entrepreneur

I love this article about the secrets of entrepreneurial succcess. I especially relate to the comment about the childhood book - The Little Engine that Could. I too believe that the message in this book is the essence of the secret to success in business and in life outlook. I wonder how many times I have read that book over the years?

Entrepreneurs Who Make a Go of It

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Qflea - a Small Business Resource


Qflea is a consortium of small businesses listed in a virtual flea market- like format consisting of neighborhoods. Each business can be found in the neighborhood that most suits it. Members make an effort to buy from one another when possible and, even better, share creative ideas and good business sense. A great sense of community results and is an antedote to the occasional sense of isolation of an online business.Qflea Online Community

Dinnner Napkins Shrink Without Washing


Did you realize that over the years the size of a dinner napkin has been reduced to a fraction of its former self? This came as no surprise to me. The standard used to be 22x22". William Hamilton of The Wall Street Journal in his recent article, explains (click here to read).

I found it interesting that one of the reasons the napkin has gone down in size, according to the article, is that the use of the fork became more widespread in the 20th Century! Also, in the day when women wore wide, flowing dresses, they needed a larger napkin to cover them.

Today's Project

This order just came in via etsy.com. It is one of the orders I need to get done today before I take off for Boston to see baby Eric.

These are his and her aprons for wedding gifts. I have heard of them actually used at the wedding though. One bride and groom came up with the creative idea of using the wedding cake as the centerpiece of the receiving line at their wedding. They liked the intimate idea of serving their own wedding cake individually to each guest. The aprons came in handy to protect their wedding attire, but also looked festive and fun. What bride would not love just a little more sparkle at the end of her wedding day?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Oregon High School Implements Embroidery Business Program

A High School in Oregon added a program for its students with special needs to teach live skills though learning to run a business. They are starting slowly to make sure quality is built in and the students are learning in a hands-on environment how much they really can do. The full article is here.
Oregon High School Embroidery Business

Comfort Gifts

We are in uncertain times, there is no denying it. Now more than ever it makes sense to indulge in comfort gifts. We have all heard of comfort foods - the foods that make us happy on a particularly cold night or during times of stress. A comfort gift is much the same - it brings a smile that only a personalized gift that says “I am thinking of you, individually, personally” can bring. Some may be big, some may be small, but all will convey the message “I was really thinking about you when I chose this for you.” That is a comfort gift.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Flannel Blankets

Editor's Note - From an earlier blog by Peg's daughter who just had her first baby this month.


The Initial Impressions two-sided flannel blanket is my favorite baby gift to celebrate the arrival of my friends’ babies for both intrinsic and sentimental reasons. Intrinsically, they’re just well-made custom baby blankets out of 100% cotton high-quality flannel which is then personalized for the new baby. Nothing could be simpler. Sentimentally it’s more complex.

When I was younger my mother would let me play in her hope chest. She had tucked away all her pretty things there, including many of the things she was holding onto as mementos of us children. In there she has a worn-out yellow and pink flannel baby blanket or receiving blanket, which she explained to me was hand-made for my arrival by my godmother Paula. Mom showed me the stitches in the hem which demonstrated that this blanket really was sewn with love by someone who was thinking about me as she made it. Mom gets a little teary-eyed when she thinks about things like this, so I know that it’s really special.

My mother hand-makes each of these two-sided baby blankets out of natural 100% cotton flannel. In so doing she’s created both an object that will last (my blanket’s over 31 years old now!) but also something even more timeless. I would wager that ever since brushed cotton flannel was invented, women have been using it to keep their babies warm and snuggly. I recognize that tiny pink rosebud print because I had a nightgown made of that, and most of my girlfriends did too. I appreciate high-tech fabrics as much as the next athlete, but for a new baby I want to go back to basics.

There’s something outside of time when life perpetuates and my friends have babies. I appreciate the timelessness of a hand-made old-fashioned gift. For a practical yet sentimental memento that will last, I always turn to my mother’s two-sided flannel blankets and heartily recommend them to anyone.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Obama Baby

This project was from 2008 when a customer requested I make this for a friend...



This is for a Washington-based Obama campaign worker who had a busy night when it became apparent that his son would be born that night.

It will be a framed nursery picture.

"Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today"

Now, there may be some debate whether this was prophesy or wishful thinking.

Customer Questions - Lettering


Often I get customers seeking advice on which lettering style to choose. While this is really just a function of preference and the age and style of the gift recipient, there sometimes are some technical considerations.

For flat fabrics that have no "nap" (for nap, think of the surface of a carpet), any of the lettering styles will be effective and look great. For fabrics that do have nap, lettering styles with thin widths on the trailing edges will sink into the fabric and not appear plump on top of the fabric.

Another technical consideration is lettering size. Very tiny lettering is difficult to do and have it crisp and easy to read. This is because there is only so many times a needle can penetrate the fabric within a small space. So if the embroidery lettering is not designed to be small, the small spaces (the hole inside an "a" for instance) will not look crisp. So, for small lettering instances I have recommended the use of Microblock because this lettering style has been specifically created for smaller size lettering.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cool Crisp Classic


This linen pillow is simple but elegant. The flanged edge and the interlocking monogram adds the only detail and enriches the linen texture of the fabric. I see it on a white wicker chair on a covered porch in the summer. Cool, Crisp and Classic.

Hello World Anti Drool Apparatus Chosen for an Etsy Treasury


Our Hello World bib was chosen today for an Etsy Treasury. It is a fun gift for the baby of a geek.

Etsy Treasury

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

His Name is Not Matthew


His name is not Matthew and it is not an embroidering mistake. This is Eric Charles, but he is happy to help out his Gammy (me) by showcasing a blanket for a photo for the site.

So, thank you Eric. When you are older, we will explain to you that we were not confused about your name or when you were born.

Fringe Technique


One of the fun techniques I use is called "fringe" - thread is used to create a 3D effect. Here it is used for hair - very fun, playful hair. Fringe can find itself in other designs too. Here is a link to our fringe design page. Fringe Designs

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Apron Colors

Happy to announce that the apron supplier agreed with my suggestion. They added the colors I suggested and some others that I hadn't even suggested.

Add Hot Pink, Light Blue, Turquoise, Silver Gray, Charcoal Gray to the nice long list of color choices.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What is Applique and How Do We Do It


We have some darling appliqué designs, and I’d like to take a moment to explain how they are created.

These designs are created by applying fabric to the surface of the item to be embroidered and then additional embroidery is applied to add detail.

The creative side of applique comes from choosing fabrics to use that mimic the feel of the image being shown. Take, for instance, the Applique Castle. Notice how the surface of the castle actually looks like the stone of a castle. Another good example is the Applique Fish, where the fabric appropriately renders the look of scales on the fish. The key, of course, is the artistic suggestion of the look or texture of the real thing rather than an exact depiction of it.




As you can see, a lot can be done with the choice of fabric to create a look. Another example is the wonderful elephant. Just look at the wrinkles on his skin!

The applique designs for children are shown on the website for the classic applique category, for the girly-girl applique, and those rough and tumble boy applique designs.

Of course, we have many more applique designs that we can possibly show. Another entry here will describe some of the ways we can incorporate your wedding fabrics into applique designs to be applied to various items for a fabulously coordinated set of gifts and keepsakes for you and your wedding party.

Why I Belong to Digital Women


When I first formed my company in 1999, I felt very comfortable with the sewing aspect of what I was about to launch. But I had a lot to learn about the business end and certainly a lot more to learn about the tech aspects.

Very early in the process, I contacted Sherri from Cuddlebug about blankets to embroider and she encouraged me to join Digital Women for resources and links to talented women. It was through Digital Women that I acquired my merchant account and skilled Digital Women have helped me through a variety of computer crises over the years.

For the first few years, I was a “free” member but it became apparent to me that the benefit I had received from Digital Women was well worth the one time fee to be a paying member.

Belonging to Digital Women was one of my first business decisions and one of my best.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mind The Gap: A weekend with family.

Mind The Gap: A weekend with family.: "It was just around that time of year... school was starting to be the same mundane routine every week. Joan's dad is a pilot and she gets to..."

My youngest is offered complete independence and she misses and yearns for her family. I love it.

Bright Yellow in Anticipation of the Celebration of Spring


Really ready for spring, new birth, new growth, and plenty of color.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Baby Naming Choices as a Fashion Trend

An interesting article stating that baby naming practices are subject to fashion trends and delving deeper and conjecturing as to why they are subject to fashion trends and why more so for girls than for boys. Our family baby naming crisis forges on with time drawing near.

Mothers Day


Today I start off embroidering several sets of king size sheets for a bed and breakfast in California. They have figured out that having the name of the bed and breakfast establishment embroidered onto the sheets is just one more way to establish their name recognition and brand.

Next on the agenda is one of those cute aprons embroidered with children’s faces and names for a customer who has planned ahead for Mother's Day and a lucky grandmom. I love working on this as I await word on the arrival of my own grandbaby - due any day now. Anticipating a grandbaby's arrival has to be just about the best.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Project ALS

In September of 1978, I had my second child, Kate. At a time that would normally have been such a blessed time, we also finally got the diagnosis for the strange symptoms my mother had been experiencing for several months. After a barrage of tests at Stanford Hospital, they finally came up with a diagnosis of a disease that I had never heard of – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis - ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig Disease for the famous baseball player who succumbed to it).

My mother was only 48. The prognosis was dire and we were shocked and devastated. Mom fought the disease valiantly, but it got the best of her in December of 1980. To this day, there is no clear cause and no real treatment.

Fast forward about eight years and our existence in Colorado. We have some wonderful neighbors who moved to this area of Boulder in 1988 - just about the same time we did. Fortunately enough, Jay happens to be an EMT and a horse lover. One one Colorado blizzard night our daughters’ horse Fancy was blinded by the snow, panicked and broke a huge plate glass window, cutting herself badly in the process. I have never seen so much blood and in the white snow, it looked pretty gruesome. We managed to get Fancy into Jay’s care and he was able to save her.

The girls grew up and moved to other areas of the country. Arrangements were made to have Fancy leased by a local girl whose family was supposed to take proper care for her. Alas, they did not and Fancy became severely malnourished. Again, Jay came to the rescue - performing a horse rescue. Fancy moved to Connecticut and lived out her life in comfort in beautiful Wilton.

What does all this have to do with embroidery you ask….

Recently Jay and his wife Judy moved to California. They wanted a lot of new personalized towels for their new home. I was happy they wanted me to do the embroidery, but I did not feel comfortable charging them for my work after all they had done for us. Sooo, I suggested that they make a donation to Project ALS in my mother’s honor. Jay and Judy thought that was a terrific idea and that is what they did.

In case you have been touched by ALS or know someone who has, Project ALS is located in New York City. Their website is www.projectals.org, with email at info@projectals.org. Project ALS is funding every aspect of a gene therapy pilot investigation in collaboration with Johns Hopkins, Harvard University and the Salk Institute. If successful, gene therapy will make a difference for those living with ALS and many other neurological diseases including Alzeimer’s, Parkinsons, Multiple Sclerosis and spinal cord injury.

If at this year end, you are looking for a meaningful charity and have even a little disposable income left, this is one to carefully consider.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Martini Apron


One of our popular apron designs is this exquisite martini apron - perfectly suited for the homemaker who knows how to mix a good drink. The embroidery thread is used in shading to provide wonderful detail. A perfect addition to a well stocked bar

This embroidery design is incredibly detailed and the glass actually feels curved - a really pretty design.





Wedding Bouquet Wrap




These linen bouquet wraps are the finishing touch to a pretty bouquet. Some brides have them embroidered with thread of their wedding color, but I like the subtle style of the white on white. Brides may toss the bouquet, but they want to keep the wrap to keep. It can be used again on a bottle of champagne on the first anniversary. These have also been embroidered to use on a bottle of champagne to celebrate a baby's birth, baptism or bris.



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